Academic Achievement

Student performance in Texas is lower than average. Fourth grade students stand 6 percentage points below the national average of 34% in the percentage at or above the proficient level on the NAEP reading exam.

Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students

Texas earns a solid grade on academic achievement for low-income and minority students. The state has a relatively large percentage of Hispanic students (50%). Twenty-nine percent of Hispanic 8th graders score at or above the proficient level on the NAEP math exam—8 percentage points above the national average.

Return on Investment

Student achievement in Texas is above average relative to state spending after controlling for cost of living. 

Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency

Texas posts below average marks on the credibility of its student proficiency scores. The grade is based on the difference between the percentage of students identified as proficient in reading and math on the 2011 state exams and the percentage identified as proficient on the 2011 NAEP reading and math tests.

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

Texas earns an average grade preparing its students for college and careers. While 19 students out of 100 pass an AP exam, students’ chances for college attendance by age 19 are below the national average.

21st Century Teacher Force

Texas does an average job of creating a strong teacher workforce. It does well expanding the pool of teachers, but it struggles to identify effective teachers.

Parental Options

Texas does a mediocre job providing parents with strong school choice options. The Lone Star State’s charter school law caps the number of charters that can operate in the state, and there are limited school choice options for students. 

Data Quality

Texas earns a very good grade collecting and reporting high-quality education data. The state supports and funds a longitudinal data system, links student performance data with teacher data, and is a national leader in linking K–12 and higher education data systems. 


Texas receives a high grade employing technology to provide quality instruction and personalized learning. Students have an array of high-quality digital options via the Texas Virtual School Network, though revamping the funding policy and eliminating caps on the number of schools could improve the state’s options.

International Competitiveness

Texas earns an average grade preparing its students to compete in a global economy. Thirty-one percent of students are proficient in reading and math compared with an international standard, close to the national average. 

Fiscal Responsibility

Texas receives average marks on fiscal responsibility, with 82% of its pension funded.